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Low Cost Micromachining Development And Application For Engineering And Technology Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Micromachining in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.855.1 - 14.855.12



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Paper Authors

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Clifford Mirman Northern Illinois University

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Andrew Otieno Northern Illinois University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Low-Cost Micromachining Development and Application for Engineering and Technology Education

By Cliff Mirman ( Andrew Otieno ( Department of Technology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

Abstract The goal of any undergraduate engineering or technical education program is to develop skill sets in students that allow them to be competitive in the job market; this is especially true for new emerging technologies. As companies find new modes to compete in the global market, they are always looking for a niche which will enable them to produce high quality products. Currently, there is a group of manufacturing companies in the Rockford, Illinois area that manufactures complex micro-machined parts with very tight tolerances and features. In order to move into this new micromachining area, the companies had to overcome two related issues. The first is how one can obtain low-cost, yet highly accurate micromachining equipment, and the second is finding skilled personnel to operate these new generation micro-machines. The purpose of this research was to develop a new generation of micro-machine which is financially accessible to these companies, develop a better understanding of this new paradigm in machining, and develop new student skills in this area.

In the marketplace, there are many companies which produce and sell micromachining equipment. This equipment takes two forms; either very high end, very precise equipment which typically sells for over $100,000 or hobby machines which are not as precise, but sell for about $20,000. For a company to engage in micro-part manufacturing, they must have the capacity and capital to purchase equipment for producing complex, high quality parts. Not many companies have the ability to purchase top of the line micro-machining equipment. To remedy this problem, this researched focused on the development of a unique low-cost micro milling machine which allows for high precision and ease of use. This paper reports on the development process and testing of this low-cost machine. In addition, the paper presents machinability data that will enable companies to select optimum cutting condition, thus reducing costs associated with tool breakages. Detailed educational experiences which were developed utilizing micromachining techniques are also presented. This work also details the educational work which has been developed for the program students.


The increased need for miniaturization of parts has continued to play a major role in developing micro-manufacturing technologies. Micro-manufacturing focuses on technologies used to produce parts in the sub-millimeter range, and essentially bridges the gap between nano-scale manufacturing and macro-manufacturing. According to the World Technology Evaluation Center’s (WTEC) commission report [1], micro-manufacturing has and will continue to have very significant impacts on national security, defense, energy, healthcare and domestic manufacturing base. Micro-parts are being utilized in the electronic and drive systems for small unmanned reconnaissance planes, for high precision parts used in missile guided systems, for

Mirman, C., & Otieno, A. (2009, June), Low Cost Micromachining Development And Application For Engineering And Technology Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4762

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